I came across a seed mixture for multispecies during the week containing Timothy grass, red clover, plantain and chicory. There was no perennial ryegrass and no white clover present.
Considering that red clover, plantain and chicory only last a few growing seasons, in three, or at best, four years’ time this field will be 100% Timothy grass – hardly ideal. Whoever supplied that seed hasn’t got the best interests of the farmer in mind.
While there are many benefits of multispecies,there are drawbacks too, the big one being poor persistency in the species mentioned above.
Just because they don’t last 10 or 12 years isn’t the end of the world, but we can’t have fields needing to be fully reseeded every three or four years either. Ensuring that what species are left are productive is critically important.
Choosing grass and white clover varieties is as important in a multispecies mixture as it is in an ordinary reseed. Grass can be sown for another few months, but it’s getting a bit too late in the year for clover and other species.
Some deals are being done between farmers and merchants for next year’s fertiliser. Prices tend to be a little bit below the peak of prices this year, so around €1,000/t for protected urea and €900-€950/t for 0:7:30 and 18:6:12.
This is by no means cheap, but fertiliser is a gamble at the moment. Buying fertiliser now is taking a gamble that it doesn’t fall in price by next spring.
Not buying fertiliser now is taking a gamble that it won’t increase in price next spring, or worse still, be unavailable next spring.
This last point is important because most of the fertiliser that entered the country this year did so prior to the Ukraine war and before Russian sanctions were introduced.
Considering that Russia and Ukraine provide so much global fertiliser – particularly P and K, that gas supplies to Europe are already being curtailed and that gas is a key component in the manufacture of urea, not being able to get access to fertiliser is a greater risk for next year than it was for this year.
Farmers need to make decisions for their own business around fertiliser purchase. Can they afford to buy and pay for fertiliser now or can they afford to not have access to fertiliser next season?
At this stage, half of the beef produced in Ireland comes from the dairy herd, despite the fact that over 160,000 calves from the dairy herd were exported this spring. If fewer calves are exported in the future, it means that a higher proportion of the beef produced in Ireland will come from the dairy herd.
There is an open day on the Thrive farm in Tipperary next Tuesday 9 August between 10:30am and 1:30pm. This farm is buying in high genetic merit calves from local dairy farmers and rearing them to beef.
Technical and financial performance will be discussed as well as the genetics required for a profitable dairy calf to beef system. All dairy and beef farmers should attend, the Eircode is E25 AK44.